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Szechuan Chicken and Pasta Salad
This pasta salad recipe is perfect for hot days when you donít want to have your oven on.† The chicken cooks perfectly in the microwave, and the lime juice has a tenderizing and sanitizing effect: because lime juice is so acidic, it is quite effective in killing bacteria.

4 chicken breasts, skinned and deboned

2 limes, zested and juiced

2 tbls soy sauce

1 tsp granulated sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tsp grated fresh ginger root

Ĺ tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, hot red pepper flakes, and dry mustard

6 oz rotini or penne pasta

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

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Dressing:

3 tbls vinegar

2 tbls sesame oil

ľ cup canola oil

1 tsp granulated sugar

ľ tsp each salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes

4 green onions, diced

1 clove garlic, pressed

Place the chicken in one layer in a medium casserole dish.† Whisk together lime juice and zest, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and seasonings.† Pour over the chicken, cover, and marinate in refrigerator over night, or for a minimum of four hours.† Turn the breasts at least once during the marinating time.

Microwave the chicken in the marinade, covered, at high temperature for 5 to 8 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through (this depends on the thickness of the breasts).† Discard the marinade and cool the chicken.

Meanwhile, cook pasta to the al denté stage.  Drain well but do not rinse in cold water.  While the pasta is boiling, slice the bell peppers in strips and place in a large bowl.  Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.  When the pasta is ready, add it to the bowl with the peppers and pour the dressing over, tossing together.

Slice the chicken into thin strips and toss with the peppers and pasta.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator until 20 minutes before serving.

As a main course, this recipe serves 4; as a side dish, 6-8 servings.

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